Professor Adam Benforado has reached a deal with Crown to publish his next book, “The Rights of Children.”
The book will draw on psychological research into the unique capacities and vulnerabilities of children and teens in order to make the case for a children's bill of rights that would revolutionize voting, health care, criminal justice and more.
“We need to prioritize children’s welfare, not simply because it is a moral imperative, but also because it provides the most effective and efficient way to treat societal problems,” Benforado said. “That means rethinking laws, processes and practices that seem intuitive to many of us.”
He will challenge, for example, the assumption that teens should be denied a right to vote.
“The average 16-year-old has many more decades to live with the effects of an election or referendum than an octogenarian does. And it is a myth that high schoolers lack the intelligence or sufficient experience to exercise the franchise,” Benforado noted, adding that the same arguments that might be used to deny minors the right to vote were once used against women and African Americans.
While the book reflects Benforado’s academic research and the classes he teaches, he emphasizes that the roots of the book are deeply personal.
“A lot of the issues I highlight — bullying, gender stereotypes, censorship — are things I’ve been thinking about since I was a kid. Now that I’m a dad, they’ve been recast and gained a new urgency.”
Benforado’s last book, “Unfair: The New Science of Criminal Injustice,” was a New York Times bestseller and #1 Audible.com bestseller that was translated for editions in Taiwan, South Korea and China. It received numerous awards and honors, including the 2017 American Psychology-Law Society Book Award.